Jeff Shesol

Supreme Power

A New York Times
Notable Book of the Year
A New Yorker Reviewers’
Favorite Book of the Year
Mutual Contempt
In the years before World War II, 
Franklin Roosevelt’s fiercest, most unyielding opponent was neither a foreign power nor “fear itself.” It was the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the Court’s conservative majority knocked down the pillars of the New Deal, one after another, democracy itself stood on trial. If Roosevelt was going to have any hope of changing America, he would have to find a way to overcome the Court. In 1937, he struck back with an audacious plan to pack the Court with liberals. The ensuing fight was a partisan firestorm. The battle dealt Roosevelt the biggest setback of his political life and forever split the Democratic party. But it also brought the Court and Constitution into the twentieth century.

Supreme Power unfolds like a thriller. It reveals why understanding the Court fight is essential to understanding the presidency and legacy of FDR — and to understanding America in our own, contentious times.

“Superb .... Shesol is a terrific storyteller, and he brings the book’s events to life by taking the reader inside the key places where the constitutional conflict took shape — the courtroom where the major decisions were announced, the smoky meetings where Roosevelt and his advisers hatched the court-packing plan, the halls of Congress where FDR’s supporters and opponents battled for legislative supremacy."
Boston Globe
“Riveting."
Washingtonian
“Truly entertaining ... superb .... The parallels between Obama today and FDR ... are in the zillions."
The Daily Beast
“I have a simple request: Anyone who has anything to do with the Kagan confirmation, and anyone who cares about the Supreme Court and the Constitution, ought to read Shesol’s new book."
Politics Daily
“Shesol ... breathes new life into an old fight with intelligence and excitement ... one of the most interesting books about the Supreme Court in years."
NPR
“His exhaustive research and deft writing produced a book that is an easy and enjoyable read …. An account that will delight political junkies of any persuasion. And Hollywood could not devise a more dramatic ending.”
The Washington Times
“Impressive .... Supreme Power is history come alive."
The Dallas Morning News
“A richly detailed, beautifully written and, well, judicious account.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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